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RE: Success criteria speak for themselves

From: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 19:58:27 -0500
Message-ID: <dda60e0292055823ff41234543084e45@mail.gmail.com>
To: Wayne Dick <waynedick@knowbility.org>, Lucy Greco <lgreco@berkeley.edu>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I think the bit that is causing others to not understand Wayne's point is
the use of dfn as an example.  In the case of dfn it is only indicated by
the user agent as a italics style and not as a definition.  Thus, no one
really knows that it's a definition but they do know it's visually
different.  In my opinion, users with disabilities need access to the same
information -- they need to know it's set apart -- and they need this
information through HTML markup -- not CSS as CSS is for presentation only
and not conveying meaning.

Things like subscripts and superscripts to me are more important because
their meaning is indicated visually as a superscript or subscript.  Using
the defense that others on the list have -- that current assistive
technology doesn't announce them or requires the user to use a certain
sound scheme is not a good reason to not markup code according to the
standards.  People need to consider how HTML content may be transformed
into other alternative formats like Braille.

The heart of the issue is that when the superscript element is used we are
pretty sure the intention of the author was to make it a superscript.
When CSS is used without markup -- a tool doesn't really know the
intention of the author and thus can't make a valid decision on how to
represent the information in an alternative format.  People need to
consider the different ways, formats, and assistive technologies that
users may be use and the different types of people with disabilities that
will consume the content.

After spending so much time in this community I had thought we had already
addressed the need for people to consume information differently -- but it
sounds like this is a continual effort that we must do to educate others.


-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Dick [mailto:waynedick@knowbility.org]
Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:59 PM
To: Lucy Greco; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Success criteria speak for themselves

Hello Lucy,

Well I was going to end this thread but your question is interesting.
First, NVDA will read off lots of styles, but I turned off all of that
because I couldn't concentrate. (To turn on reading font styles in NVDA
do-- menu: preferences: document formatting: report font attributes)

Mostly I was thinking of visual semantics that would be more useful for
partial sight.  However scanning from DFN element to DFN element could be
a good search technique on professional literature.

What I am really thinking of ultimately is something like an ARIA role
for style level semantics,   something like a "style guide" role.  It
would not define a behavior like existing ARIA roles. Instead it would
describe the relationship of visual style to meaning.  Such a role could
have many states like "APH", "MLA" or Associated Press style guide to
mention a few.  All such style guides would have various professional text
structures that could be included as descendent roles.  Some of these
style semantic objects already exist in HTML elements like headings and
lists at the block level, and CITE and DFN at the text level. However,
most style guides for professional reading have a much richer semantic
structure like the components of bibliographic entries.
Rather than expand HTML 5 with more elements, and impossible task, why not
include richer document semantics using an ARIA like interface.

Here is an example of the semantic detail a style guide role could
contain.  In a bibliographic element for an article there is an entry for
the publication that contains it.  A containing publication role would be
a searchable structure if it was part of an ARIA hierarchy.
Maybe special landmark types would be all that was needed.

The point is this.  Professional documents for reading have many semantic
elements that are generally represented by visual style. These are
difficult to perceive and use for people with partial sight and invisible
to people with no sight.

I got my PhD in Mathematics at UCSD with congenital partial sight and it
was not easy.  Electronically accessible research articles with all the
semantic cues available to fully sighted readers would have made research
much easier.  Then I could have just concentrated on the mathematics
without having to fight the medium.

With adequate semantic markers in professional articles, people with
screen readers could use these markers one way, and people who needed text
customization could use them another way.  People with dyslexia might find
another way to use them altogether.  The point is, if they were there, we
could use them for our own learning purposes.

Well that is where I am going.  I'll say more at CSUN.

Received on Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:59:01 UTC

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